Winter Wonderland -- Day Two
I returned to the Marriott on Saturday only to find that the clothes had changed but not the people. Jack McKeon was still outside puffing on a cigar -- presumably not the same one as last evening -- and the other cast of characters were inside, in some cases talking to the identical folks as the night before.
In between trips back and forth to the hotel,
Yesterday's All-Baseball.com crew was joined by Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts. Jon, Alex Ciepley, Peter White, and Jay Jaffe were talking to Steve Henson, the Los Angeles Times' new beat writer for the Dodgers, when I arrived. Jon, another one of the thirty-something crowd, speaks softly but carries a big stick when it comes to all things Dodgers.
Speaking of the Dodgers, Fred Claire is standing nearby and Tom Lasorda can be seen across the room. Paul DePodesta, on the other hand, has been conspicuously invisible thus far. He must be spending his time upstairs in the suites, discussing deals with the paying folks. There is a rumor on the floor that he and his pal Billy Beane are working on a trade involving
Beane apparently has put Hudson,
It's 1:15 p.m. and stomachs are beginning to growl. The All-Baseball quartet meets up with Will Carroll for a sandwich in the hotel delicatessen. Peter Gammons, clad in slacks and tennis shoes, is ahead of us in line, ordering lunch to go. We set up shop outside at a round table that Jay is destined to knock over with his right foot.
Speaking of kicks, I can't help but look up to see the expressions on Jon's and Peter's faces when "Scoop" Carroll tells us that
6-4-2's Rob McMillin joins us back in the lobby after lunch. Rob, Jon, and I are three locals who only have to pony up the $10 parking for the lot catty-corner to the hotel. Courtesy of Jon, we attended a Dodgers-Astros game in July in which I was impressed that Rob's wife kept score the entire game. Like pitchers of today, it seems as if so very few scorekeepers finish what they start.
Rob and I have different takes on Jered Weaver. He is of the belief that Weaver is essentially an unproven pitcher, someone who has never pitched at the professional level. Whereas Rob doesn't think Weaver should get millions of dollars, I maintain the opinion that he would be a much better value at $9 million for four years than his brother Jeff at $9 million for one year. There is no doubt in my mind that if Jered were allowed to negotiate with all of the teams, he would not only be considered a bargain at those terms but would most likely wind up with a deal similar to what
I excuse myself and approach Lasorda, introducing myself as George Lederer's son. Tommy puts a smile on my face when he tells me that my Dad was "a great, great man." I give Tommy my All-Baseball.com business card -- smartly designed by Alex Ciepley -- and he studies it for about 15 seconds while allowing me to sneak in what it is we all do.
McKeon walks by, exchanges pleasantries with the Hall of Fame manager (with a lifetime pitching record of 0-4 and a 6.48 ERA, he wasn't voted in as a player, right?), and proceeds to exit the hotel to light up another one. Given the fact that the Marlins failed to make the postseason this year, I don't think it's one of those Red Auerbach-victory cigars.
In the meantime,
After learning from Will that
I notice Tom Verducci standing alone for the first time since I've been there, so I walk over and tell him that Alex B. had asked me to say hello. Tom, who has movie-star looks especially when compared to many of us who have faces only suited for radio, recalls meeting Alex at the winter meetings last year in New Orleans.
Joined by my fellow A-Bers and a certain Futility Infielder, we wind up talking about Tom's Hall of Fame selections -- past, present, and future -- as well as rumored deals for about 15-20 minutes. Much to my chagrin,
I thank Tom for his time, speaking of which I realize that I am in need of calling it a day. We're hosting my older brother's 53rd birthday in conjunction with our community's Christmas Boat Parade in about an hour so I better hurry on home before the guests arrive.
I'm looking forward to my return trip on Sunday which, if all goes as planned, will be an extra special day in the life of Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT. Suffice it to say, there will be no NFL football games on my agenda.